Triathlon Chonamara - Ras an Phortaigh 2006
“Come on in, the waters warm.” was possibly the quote of the day on the windswept Cill Chiarain Pier on saturday morning as 300 competitors from across the country shivered in the wind and rain waiting for their swim wave to start. 24 hours earlier, Met Eireann confirmed our worst nightmare, the weather for the 2006 race was possibly going to be as bad as the 2005 one, gale-force winds and omnipresent rain. The forecast was also spot on with its timing for the weather front to pick, with the wind and rain arriving just as the race briefing was being given on the Pier.
A prayer was given to bless everyone entering the water and a minute’s silence to honor Caroline Kearney was completed before a traditional jig was performed as the first swim wave lined out on the beach for the start.
Unfortunately we had quite a few pull-outs from the later swim waves, keeping our water support busy, the definition of “open-water” swimming being put to the test. Credit to all the swimmers who completed the swim and many thanks to our water rescue people coordinated by Kealan Doyle, Galway Sub-Aqua club, the Irish Navy, the local Coastguard and in-training RNLI crew plus all the rescue kayakers.
The bike and run courses proved to be as testing as we anticipated with Mark Dempsey storming home to set the course record of 02:13:38 in front of Liam Dunne and Stephen Teeling Lynch. Karen Bothwell set the Ladies record with a fine time of 02:38:02 followed by Elena Maslova and Mary Horgan. Considering the conditions and the course the times at the top were excellent, an indication of how competitive the sport has become in this country.
Further down the field we had quite a few DNF’s due to hypothermia and punctures but thankfully no crashes (Rory Brennan wasn’t racing but acting as Race Director), and our last competitor crossed the line just before the four and a half hour mark, finishing the 2006 Triathlon Chonamara.
A word of thanks to all involved (apologies if we missed anyone):
Our local crew in Carna: Neasa and Emer Ni Chualain, Ger Ni Thaibhais, Kealan Doyle and Ken Maher, Micheal Coyne, and all the brothers, sisters and cousins who marshalled, standing out in the rain for the day to watch out for our competitors.
Water Rescue: Galway Sub-Aqua club, the Irish Navy, the local Coastguard and in-training RNLI crew plus all the rescue kayakers.
The Race Director, Rory Brennan, Race Referee, Eamonn Horgan and Technical Delegate, Hugh Carberry.
Andrew Parkinson for marshalling the bike course with Bobby Behan. John Cunniffe for marshalling transition and Tom Kelly with his mate who helped out because they could, sound lads.
The local Gardai who directed traffic tirelessly for the day.
Richard O’Shaughnessy and Enda Dooley who worked with the Timing lads to get our results and all the GTC members who helped out with registration and setting up our transition area. Triathlon Chonamara is being run to aid funds of the Carna & Islands Lifeboat Charity, thanks to those that supported this on the day.
Finally to all the competitors that braved the elements, surviving the day that was in it, who stuck around to say thanks.
We appreciate it.
GTC Race Committee.
Mark DEMPSEY Limerick TC 2:13.38
Liam DUNNE Belpark 2.16.02
STEPHAN TEELING-LYNCH Limerick TC 2:21.27
Karen Bothwell 3 Dtri 2:38.02
Elena Maslova Piranha 2:44.47
Mary Horgan Piranha 2:44.51